Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Refastening done... On to sanding.

We hauled Noel up for Hurricane Irma, and decided that while we have her up on the rail it was a good time to finish refastening her.

That has now been completed, and we are sanding the epoxy that went on top of the new screws, to get ready for a fresh coat of primer on the hull before she goes back in. 

Friday, September 29, 2017


We hauled Noel up for Hurricane Irma, and decided that while we have her up on the rail it was a good time to finish refastening her. 

Now the time has come to replace the #16x3 inch silicon bronze screws that hold her planks to her frames. 

She has plywood over her planking, so to locate the frames we are drilling small holes through/and or beside the frames to the outside to locate the frames and popping strings down the sides to find our centerline, then walking off the widths of each plank on the outside to catch the centers of the planks. 

The screws are recessed below the depth of the plywood into her planking, and that takes a few steps to accomplish.  The initial counter sinking is done with a 5/8 drill bit to go through the fiberglass and plywood. The hole for the bronze wood screw requires a tapered drill bit.  Then a straight drill bit for the shank of the screw, with a counter sink cutter for the head. 

Once the screws are in place and tight, we are covering them with thickened epoxy and cabosil.  After sanding that back on the topsides each gets a coat of Awlgrip Awlfair fairing putty, which is the pink you see.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 2017

Sanding, sanding and more sanding...

We have the window frames ready for finish primer, inside and out and have sanded the entire cabin and brow catching them up for finish primer as well. 

We've been balancing out the inside vs outside work, so as to keep on making progress even when the weather isn't co-operating.  Our plywood boards in the windows come out fairly easily, but it is hard to work on a window frame in the rain...  So we tackled catching up the stair case, as well as the bead board ceiling down below. 

The goal will be to spray every surface on the cabin house, and top coat it before the windows are bonded into place.  No over-spray, and the continual taping/masking that goes along with trying to paint beside glass.   

The cabin sides on Noel are rounded, and we had one area on the port side under the last window that had a flat spot that came into view after we were done blending in the window frames, which are flat.  The pink spot, is a a skim of Awlgrip Awlfair putty that we've blended in and long boarded true to the boat.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

February 2017: Window frames and interior work.

Update for February:

The weather has been a cold, but we've been plugging along.  The outer frames are installed and filleted in and primed, so we have moved inside to catch them up. 

The inside has been a bit of work, as we found when we were placing the window frames on the outside of the wall that the studs in the walls were a bit out of line and plumb in places.  When we re-skinned the outer wall with new marine grade plywood a few years ago, I sure wish we had moved and replaced the studs on perfect centers.  I digress...

 Rather than put the outside frames at different widths apart, we set them equal distance and then made up the interior to fit.  This will pay back a dividend, as all the inside trim will also be equal width, and the interior shop won't have to make 6 different sizes of window blinds.  

To do that it meant removing some some of the plywood padding on the studs, and building up other places to end up with a reveal the same width around each window.  That was required, in order to cut a round-over on the face of the plywood that makes up the outer skin of the wall, we used a laminate trimmer with a modified base to get in tight and hand shaped where it would not fit.

From there, we straightened all surfaces with straight edges cut to fit the width, and height so that everything would work out consistent in thickness.  This was a bit of a trick, as the walls themselves are curved.  We used a Fein Multimaster to cut, then sand the outer corners where they were high. 

Once everything was consistent we laid fiberglass in West Systems Epoxy over the entire surface and up onto the outer window frame.  The goal being that the seam where the fiberglass window frame on the outside and the plywood wall will not move.  After the fiberglass, a second round of filler went on, using Awlgrip Awlfair which is the red finish you see on most of the surfaces making up the window case.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Wheeler 83 Footer for sale.

Noel is for sale!  Please click the link below to see the ad.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Window Frame Mold and Installation

We built a fiberglass mold to make fiberglass window frames for Noel. 

The eleven window frames are made with polyester resin and gel coat, and they are bonded to the boat with west systems epoxy resin, and tabbed in with fiberglass around the outside. We pulled a fairing fillet around them, with Awlgrip Awlfair and then primed with Awlquick and 545 until they were blended in with the rest of the primer on the boat.  The windows will be bonded in to the window frames.  No leaks, no seams.  Noel is making the transition from a wooden boat, to a cold molded boat and associated maintenance.   No leaks!  

The plug was made with MDF plywood done in two layers. 

                                            We sealed the plug with Duratec Primer. 
It was sanded out and polished. 
  We waxed the plug, and sprayed gel coat over it.  

We laid up the mold, and then let it sit for a few days before glassing iron pipe to support it on our saw horses and keep it flat.

We pulled the mold the next day, and cut the flange straight.  

Mold read to lay up parts. We waxed it ten times with Partall Paste wax. The mat is up on rolls to make it easy to pull over the mold.  We used both 1.5 ounce mat as well as veil for the skin coats.
First part, skin coat being laid up.  The skin coat extends to the edge of the flange to make the part pull easier.  The window frames have perfectly plumb sides, with no draft, yet they pull out of the mold very easily with the flange left intact.  Polyester shrinks when it cures ever so slightly, which means on shallow molded parts you can have with zero draft angles like this.  We back filled the molded parts, in the mold with a mixture of polyester resin and chopped glass fiber with glass microballoons to keep them fairly light.  To get a flush surface on the top, we broke the part loose from the mold, but left it in the mold for support, and then ground down until we saw gel-coat on the flange.  We made one every two days, to let them set up long enough to stay straight when pulled from the mold.  Each took 10 layers of 1.5 ounce fiberglass mat, laid 3 layers at a time to keep the heat from distorting...  before being back filled with roughly a gallon of filler.

Summer Haul Out

We hauled Noel out and repainted the bottom, new zincs and cleaned the props.  While she was up we did a trial run of refastening a frame with bronze screws and came up with the technique required to do it.  She has a layer of 1/2 inch plywood over her planks, so the goal was to sink the head of the screw below the plywood layer, which required a countersink without a shoulder.  We grind a drag link socket to make a bit to fully fill the slots in the screws.